Well, it’s done. Again, for the last few weeks I have found myself a combination of too busy and at a loss for words to even think about posting. But last night was the premiere of Fallen, and twenty-four hours later I feel enough at liberty to begin posting again.
This has, without a doubt, been the busiest month of my life. First Peru, then the induction of the 2006 intake at work, then Fallen. It’s enough to make a grown woman cry, and that’s what I’ve been doing, on and off, since about 9pm last night. I began to weep before the end of the last music cue (do understand that the band weren’t wholly visible behind the scrim), more from relief and gratitude than anything else, then burst into tears as soon as we got backstage. And I have been on the verge ever since, with stupid things setting me off – Barber’s Adagio on Radio 4′s Desert Island Discs this morning didn’t help at all!! But that was after I had dropped off the incomparable Mel at the airport, which was cause for tears enough. I blame the hormones, myself.
In truth, it went as well as I could have hoped for, and far better than I expected. There were a few sound hiccups, which was a shame, but from my point of view as MD, pretty damned good for a first run through (at the dress rehearsal, we didn’t even make it to the end, so on the night we were doing the close of the show for the first time). It could have been more precise in terms of synching with the film, and the band and choir were commendable for reading my mind, rather than my down beat, but we got from one end to the other in tune, together, and with feeling. All in all, a job well done. We had to change the veils at the last minute – too much faffing around at the dress rehearsal. I had tried to make them look like Sofonisba Anguissola’s portrait of her sister, with a little starched peak at the centre, but in the end we went all Nativity-Play-cum-Life-of-Brian and stretched them over our foreheads, pinned at the back.
After it was all over, we celebrated with a glass of wine and a slice of the Ferrarese delicacy, pampepato. This is a rich chocolate fruitcake, coated with a thick layer of dark chocolate, originally devised by the nuns at Corpus Domini. I iced four of them on Friday morning before the dress rehearsal, having laid them out on cooling racks with sheets of paper towel underneath to catch the drips of chocolate. Mel and I seriously considered staying at home and sucking the paper towels instead of driving two hours to Brighton and being professional performer-musicologists….
So, now I’m totally wiped out – my shop is not so much closed as raised to the ground. Today I was treated to coffee in bed (having laid there lazily, listening to Pete downstairs, labouring away at the ancient coffee grinder clamped to the kitchen table). However, as he presented me with said coffee, Son 2 barrelled into the bedroom behind him, and sent the coffee all over himself, the pillows and the rather too expensive chinese rug. C’est la guerre. So instead of a lie-in, I’m treating scalds and carpet stains before 9am on a Sunday morning. But all was forgotten as we had lunch at a beautiful little New Forest pub, the Royal Oak at Fritham, before a long walk in the unseasonal sunshine through a wood that Son 2 insisted was Endor. We fended off arrest by several Imperial platoons, identified mushrooms eaten by Ewoks, and hid in the undergrowth from Imperial spies before safely making it back to our starship. Fantastic – at last, after what seems like eternity, I could just breathe the air and marvel at how many different kinds of moss one can spot standing still in the forest. I know that the rest of my life will start again tomorrow, but I’m in no hurry.
Pete has just told me that I should take tomorrow morning off, and just blob around the house. OK, I said, but maybe I’ll tidy my office, too. No, no, said he, just rest, otherwise we all will suffer. !. Then he said that the only way he could get me to relax was to make me feel guilty if I didn’t. Oh, right. So now he’s a psychologist.